Deshaun Watson won the Davey O’Brien Award on Thursday, which is the top quarterback award in college football.
“He gave a great speech, and it was just awesome to see him there and see the coaches there,” Clemson offensive lineman Eric Mac Lain said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He is definitely the best quarterback in the nation and he got the trophy tonight for it.”
Watson completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 3,512 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. He also rushed for 887 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading Clemson to a No. 1 ranking and the College Football Playoff.
“I’ll tell you what: (Blocking for him is) the easiest job in America,” Mac Lain said. “He’s such a phenomenal runner with his feet, and the decisions that he makes as a quarterback – it’s what you want. He can pass it, he can run and pass it, or he can just run it. He’s really hot right now. The run game that he’s been able to do in the last couple games has really been able to help us. He’s dangerous.”
Mac Lain was a highly recruited tight end coming out of high school but decided to become an offensive lineman in 2012. The Tigers had suffered a string of injures in the trenches, and Mac Lain decided to step up and help the team.
“Yeah, it was a process, no doubt,” he said. “But it was my decision. We were pretty low with depth at the offensive line. I just talked with Coach Swinney and Coach (Dan) Brooks, our D-Line coach, and I came to them with the idea of making that transition. I felt like I had the biggest body, the biggest frame, and it would be easiest. And when they told me they thought it would be a great idea for the team and long-term for myself, I just fully bought in. I was eating six meals a day. You go from 250 to 315 – that takes a lot of work. So eating came second nature. We were in that dining hall, it seemed like, all day.”
The Tigers will play No. 4 Oklahoma (11-1) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. ET. It is Clemson’s second trip to Miami this season, as the Tigers beat the Hurricanes, 58-0, in October.
“We’re hoping our fans bring it,” Mac Lain said. “We fully expect it to be a homefield-advantage type of game. Clemson travels well, so I really just want to challenge our fans to keep that up.
Clemson beat Oklahoma, 40-6, in the Russell Athletic Bowl last December.
“We’re looking forward to playing Oklahoma again,” Mac Lain said. “Obviously they’re one of the hottest teams in America right now when you talk about production and things they’ve done. It’s going to be a big challenge for us on offense. So we’re going to have our hands full, but were looking forward to the challenge.”